George Harrison was proud of what The Beatles accomplished in the short time they were together. However, he could be really blunt about his feelings about being in one of the most famous bands in the world sometimes. Especially since fans hardly let him forget his days as “Beatle George.”
The ex-Beatle was just that, an ex-Beatle. Having been disenchanted with being Fab early on, George was relieved when he left the band. He left The Beatles as if it was no big deal, and then he quickly moved on. But George didn’t appreciate it when fans couldn’t do the same. He didn’t understand why they wanted to go to things like Beatle Fests because he lived in the here and now.
George was under the impression that if The Beatles put out a record years after breaking up, fans would obsessively jump to buy it even if it was “rubbish.”
George Harrison said people would buy a Beatles record even if it was ‘rubbish’
In a 1987 interview with Entertainment Tonight, George discussed his time in The Beatles. He said he couldn’t believe that after almost 20 years, fans were still “stuck” on the band. So if someone put out a record and called it “The Beatles,” people would go straight out to buy it even if it was “rubbish.”
“A lot of people just get stuck on something that’s a craze and then they don’t see that it takes all these other bits that make that. I think a lot of people would, you know, if you put out a record and call it “The Beatles,” you’d have all these people who’d rush out and buy it regardless of if it was a load of rubbish,” George said.
“Because you know of the name. It’s like you know Michael Jackson. ‘Oh, let’s go and get it because it’s him.’ Because it’s them. Without, you know-I mean The Beatles did some good things but they also did some rubbish too.”
George talked about The Beatles as if they’re someone else
Entertainment Tonight pointed out that George talks about The Beatles as if they’re someone else. He said they are. That was him, but it was so long ago that George didn’t feel like that person anymore. “It’s like a previous incarnation,” he said.
According to Rolling Stone, George once said, “The Beatles exist apart from myself. I am not really Beatle George. Beatle George is like a suit or shirt that I once wore on occasion, and until the end of my life people may see that shirt and mistake it for me. I play a little guitar, write a few tunes, make a few movies, but none of that’s really me. The real me is something else.”
However, as time went on, George grew more frustrated by fans’ expectations of him as an ex-Beatle.
George didn’t like the pressure fans put on him
In 1979, George told Rolling Stone that The Beatles had been nostalgic since 1967. “It’s fine,” he said. “There was a time when I don’t think any of us liked it – that 1968 to 1969 period. But now it’s funny. [Grinning] It’s like being Charlie Chaplin or Laurel and Hardy. But the music still stands up, still sounds very good, a lot of it.”
However, George started to detest that nostalgia when fans only ever wanted him to play Beatles hits.
“The pressure, you know, of the people expecting you to do something,” George told Entertainment Tonight. “It’s a wonder we didn’t all go bananas really because I mean just say for that instance that Prince’s Trust. It was bad enough me and then Ringo. If you imagine Paul there as well, people are gonna-they’re expecting to hear you know whatever, I don’t know what they’re expecting to hear, but we could never deliver that, can’t deliver the goods.”
George hated being “put in a little box and looked at through microscopes.” It made him feel paranoid, “afraid to go anywhere and to play guitars with other people.” Trying to be ordinary was virtually impossible.
“Try to be just an ordinary person and play a few tunes but they won’t let you do that,” George said. “They want you to come out there with flames coming out of your fingers, singing all these things that don’t really exist. It’s just all in their concept of what it was. Then is then, and now is now.”
No wonder George played very few shows after he shed his “Beatle George” skin.